Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon. Karl Samuda says that the Caribbean needs to revisit its agricultural priorities.
Chief among these priorities are the region’s trade policy, food security, and its response to climate change, which he said is now emerging as one of the most significant impediments to growth and development.
Other priorities are nutrition and livelihood security; rural and agricultural development; local, regional and international market expansion.
Minister Samuda was participating in a panel discussion on “Agrifood trade in Latin America and the Caribbean in the current international context”, on day three of the 35th Session of the FAO Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean being held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Rose Hall, Montego Bay from March 5-8, 2018.
According to the Minister, “there has to be greater productivity which must be part of any strategy because, in the final analysis, we must be able to compete effectively as we cannot compete without productivity in all areas”.
“We have to implement new strategies and new ways of doing business. The old ways of doing business will not cut it. We have to apply new techniques”, Minister Samuda said.
He further reiterated the need for greater private sector involvement in the agricultural sector.
He stated that “what we have embarked on here in Jamaica is a strategy which we hope will lead us to the kind of successes that we hope to achieve.
What we want to achieve is the direct involvement of the private sector who are willing to partner with the farming community by providing capital at reasonable rates and in some instances, acquiring the planting material and basic infrastructure required by the farmers”.
Climate change and rural poverty are among the main issues being discussed at the FAO’s Regional Conference.
The conference is also examining in detail, practical steps for attaining the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, which Jamaica has signed on to and is trying to achieve.
The conference is the largest to-date, recording the participation of all 33 member nations and over 320 delegates.